Nike‘s relationship with the Penn State football system has come under fire since news of the school’s child sex abuse scandal became public. But the sportswear and athletic goods company says it has no plans to distance itself from the school, or from the football team’s former head coach Joe Paterno.
Women’s Wear Daily reports that a number of critics want Nike to change the name of the on-site daycare center it runs at its corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. In light of recent accusations that a former assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, used his influence to cover up sexually abusing young boys, these critics say calling the center the “Joe Paterno Child Development Center” is inappropriate.
Still, the company won’t budge, saying that it will continue to work with Penn State on the various athletic products and licensed goods it has produced for the school over the years.
“Our relationship with Penn State remains unchanged,” Nike said in a statement. “We are deeply disturbed by the claims brought forth in the indictments. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
An industry branding analyst told WWD that Nike is right not to move too quickly on this — and pointed out that the company took more flak for not cutting ties to Tiger Woods and Kobe Bryant during their own sex scandals.
So for now, the company will be holding onto the name of its center. How long they hold on to a favorably public perception, however, remains to be seen.